Best Long Range Optics Scopes

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If you’re looking to push the boundaries of those lame “effective range” stickers or for a long range scope to destroy targets at 1000 yards plus, this guide is for you!

Long range shooting is one of the most exciting and coveted skills in the world of firearms, but it comes at a price. Having a high-quality scope with long range capabilities makes all the difference, but what qualifies a scope as a long range scope?

Marine Sniper with Long Range Scope in Afghanistan
Marine Sniper in Afghanistan

To a Canadian Special Forces operative equipped with a McMillin TAC-50 .50BMG, a long range scope meant having a Schmidt and Bender 5-45x56mm atop his rifle to set the world record in longest recorded kill confirm shot. This operative was able to neutralize an enemy ISIS combatant at a staggering 3540m!

The Schmidt & Bender series of optics implement state of the art technology and top-tier glass quality. To successfully neutralize targets further than a squint away, scopes like these are almost a must. At 3540m, it isn’t even possible to make out a human silhouette without good optics, let alone take an accurate shot that considers bullet ballistics. Without long range optics, the shot taken by the record holder would have likely not been possible!

Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II (Editor’s Choice)

The Vortex Optics Razor HD II is Vortex’s flagship long range scope and has remained one of the most popular scopes among the PRS community for years now. What you get here is a “buy once cry once” long range scope made by Vortex, one of our favorite optics companies here at Marine Approved. Along with being an American and veteran-owned company, their customer service and warranty are nearly unbeatable. With Vortex products, you get an unlimited lifetime that’s transferable, no receipt needed. That means that so long as you don’t intentionally damage your optic or it is stolen, Vortex will replace or repair it for free through the Vortex Vip Warranty.

With a premium price tag, you also get Vortex’s top of the line, high density, extra-low dispersion glass. The lenses are fully multi-coated with XR Plus anti-reflective coating for increased light transmission resulting in a bright and clear image. Vortex also incorporated the APO optical system, which according to Vortex, reduces the amount of blurring between colors and brings the different color wavelengths into focus in the same plane.

The FFP scope has a 50mm objective lens and variable 3-18x magnification range, making this scope incredibly versatile. Its L-TEC Turret System locking turret system prevents accidental elevation changes.

Of all the optics on this list, for precision shooting, I feel like this best bang for your buck as far as high-end scopes go. There are multiple models to choose from including 3-18×50 and 4.5-27×56. I could go on and on about this scope, but instead, I’ll leave a video below that covers more of its features.

Nightforce Optics ATACR 5-25x56mm

The ATACR is the predecessor to the coveted combat tested Nightforce NXS, which you’ve probably heard of before if you’re a firearms enthusiast or in the military. These scopes are quite popular in special forces around the world and have quite a reputation among precision shooters. The ATACR was designed with tactical mission-critical features like their patented ZeroStop technology and up to 120 MOA /35mils of elevation adjustment. The housing is built like an armored vehicle and may even be able to withstand as much abuse as one too!

This really does feel like the Cadillac of long-range scopes. Everything down to even the “XtremeSpeed” diopter has some special “speed and precision” technology behind it. Along with having outstanding glass and image quality, this scope is known for being an absolute tank in the field. They say this scope is so durable that it’s “military proof” and I’ve even heard some say that it’s “Marine proof”. Overall, this is easily one of the best long range scopes out there.

Notable Features:

  • F1 Digillum illuminated MOAR reticle
  • 34mm diameter tube that is a one-piece design and argon purged
  • Power throw level
  • 3.54” eye relief
  • Weighs 30oz
  • Fully multi-coated lenses featuring proprietary ED light transmission technology
  • Tenebraex flip covers included
  • Combat tested and battle-ready
  • Unmatched durability, weight, and precision with incredibly smooth adjustments

Schmidt & Bender PMII MSR FFP MRAD CCW

A German manufactured god among optics, S&B optics are among the most prestigious long-range capable scopes on the market today. In fact, this very scope is likely the one used in the world record for the farthest confirmed kill (talked about earlier in this article). The PMII is at the top of the price spectrum just as it is the prestige spectrum, though, and likely out of the budget range for most casual shooters. This scope is for those whose lives depend on being the most precise you can possibly be with a firearm.

Notable Features:

  • Premier Gen 2 XR reticle
  • 34mm tube diameter
  • Fast focus S&B eyepiece
  • Top tier thermal shock resistance
  • Stunning glass quality

Leupold LEU Mark 5 HD

The Leupold LEU Mark 5 is a battle-tested and thermal shock hardened warrior of a scope that may just be what you need to sling those large-caliber rounds into the 4-digit zone with ease. It’s hard to really review a scope like this and make it sound worth it with just words, so excuse me if I fail to get you excited, however, this scope is an absolute masterpiece. Most of what goes into its construction is the result of 40+ years of research by Leupold. You can tell that there were absolutely no sacrifices here. The glass is about as clear as it gets and this is easily one of the best scopes out there.

Notable Features:

  • 35mm tube diameter purged with a proprietary Argon and Krypton mix
  • Constructed of 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum
  • European style fact-focus eyepiece
  • Illuminated and etched Mil-Dot TMR reticle
  • Max HD Leupold Light Management System
  • Flip-up lens covers included
  • Water and fog proof
  • Total weight: 30oz
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Battle-ready, Sleek, brilliant, and smooth

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II (Best Value Overall)

Vortex makes so many scopes that it can be difficult to which model is best for what. The easiest way to know what the scope is designed for is to understand what the letters mean following the model name. In this particular case, PST stands for Precision, Shooting, Tactical. Below I’ll actually put a video explaining the differences between the HS HSLR HST and PST.

This FFP has pretty incredible glass for this price point, which is why this is an extremely popular scope. Along with the great glass, the eye relief is pretty good, is durable, and overall just extremely well designed. This scope is available in multiple variants including 2-10×32, 3-15×44, and 5-25×50.

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T

As always, you can expect some pretty high-quality optics for ridiculous prices from Vortex Optics. The Viper has four different variants for you to select from including the 4-16×44 or 6-24×50 VMR-1 MOA, and 4-16×44 or 6-24×50 VMR-1 MRAD magnification and reticle configurations. I like the MOA reticle with a 50mm objective lens but each of these are just fine and mostly personal preference.

These come with the CR5 zero stop and exposed target acquisition style turrets that are incredibly easy and quick to adjust and fine-tune out in the field and provides excellent parallax adjustments as well. As with many of the Vortex Optics scopes, you’ll also find the Viper has the single piece fast focus eyepiece that hosts several inches of eye relief, being comfortable and effective at the same time!

If you were wondering, the HS-T stands for Hunting, Shooting, and Tactical purposes and to me, this scopes cute little acronym actually holds pretty true as I’d certainly recommend this scope to anyone participating in any of the three activities listed above, although this might be a tad overkill on magnification for most hunters, but hey, better to have more magnification than you need than not have enough, right? Plus, each of the variants contains a wide level of adjustable levels of magnification power so really, these scopes are exceptionally versatile and have earned their HS-T acronym sufficiently! The scope has great eye relief at 4 inches and overall is just an incredible scope for the money. Instead of writing for days about this scope, I decided to just link the best video I could find on YouTube below.

Swarovski Z5

 Incredible accuracy at long distances is made incredibly easier when using the Austrian made Z5 5-25×52 L. The lateral parallax turret with the familiar optical perfection of SWAROVSKI OPTIK makes this riflescope a pioneer in its class. The compact 1-inch rifle scope is most definitely the right choice for shooting over long distances while maintaining friendliness for maneuverability. 

Not too heavy, not too light, not too long, not too short. This scope is by far one of my favorites for the simple fact that it provides crystal clear sight picture at the perfect size to be usable during hunting or long range target shooting. SWAROVSKI OPTIK delivers performances that have only rarely been achieved previously by any other rifle scope of the 30 mm class. The lightweight and compact Z5 rifle scopes are designed for harsh everyday usage.

Notable Features:

  • 5-25x52mm
  • 4W reticle SFP
  • Nitrogen purged 1” tube diameter
  • Aluminum-alloy construction finished in matte black
  • 9.6-2.1 exit pupil diameter
  • 21.5 apparent field of view
  • 90% light transmission
  • SWAROTOP multicoating to optimize light transmission
  • External lenses have been coated with a scratch-resistant SWARODUR protective lens film
  • Waterproof up to 13ft/4m
  • Extreme levels of adjustability
  • Excellent low light transmission despite a small tube

Athlon Optics Argos BTR FFP Scope

Athlon Optics should be one of the first brands you consult with when trying to find optics on a tight budget. These scopes often have exceptional glass compared to others in their price ranges and offer many features that I wouldn’t expect to find on scopes so cheap! Of course, there is a tradeoff and with this scope, its weight.

The Athlon Optics BTR scope line comes in a few different variations so make sure you get the one that fits your needs the best. This model, in particular, is the cheapest in the lineup and offers the lowest level of magnifications. For the money, this scope is great and checks all the boxes for “must-haves”. The lens coating is also quite nice but I would recommend ponying up the $30 for the add on sunshade as it makes a huge difference in direct sunlight. Overall, I would say that this is the best long range scope under 500 dollars.

Notable Features:

  • 6-24×50
  • FFP
  • 30mm tube diameter
  • Argon purged one-piece tube design
  • Athlon proprietary wideband multi-lens coating for increased light spectrum and transmission
  • APMR MIL reticle that is both illuminated and etched
  • 6061T6 Aircraft grade aluminum construction in matte black
  • Includes lens caps
  • Glass quality that matches higher end scopes
  • Lifetime warranty

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle SFP Scope

If you’re familiar with the optics game, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Vortex has one of the best long-range scopes in the budget category. At 5 big ones, this scope is jam-packed with critical repeatable performance that no other budget scope can match. Before we really crack into this scope and what its capabilities are, you should know that the Strike Eagle line has 3 compadres: 1-6×24, 3-18×44, and 4-24×40. Talking about the best scope for long range shooting it’s only fair that I reviewed the most powerful one, the 4-24×40 EBR-4. Of course, this is also the most expensive one but if you like the Strike Eagles and would like to save a little cash, the less powerful options are still great!

The Strike Eagle (is it me or should it be named Eagle Strike?) comes with both an etched reticle and illumination options making this budget scope incredibly versatile for both high and low levels of light at both short and long-distance shooting. Of course, it does struggle a bit at its maximum levels of magnification, but this is to be expected if you wish to save some money. By no means, however, is the sight picture unusable at its top levels, its just a little foggier than I would like to see. All in all, I would say this is the best long range rifle scope under 500 bucks. It offers everything you would need with nothing you don’t in a rather small and lightweight package.

Notable Features:

  • 4-24×50
  • 30mm single piece tube constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Nitrogen purged
  • Water and fog proof
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • 3.5” eye relief
  • Glass etched SFP EBR-4 MOA reticle
  • 11 brightness settings
  • Parallax knob on the side
  • Illuminated reticle with 11 brightness settings
  • Zero resettable tactical turrets
  • Above-average eye relief
  • High levels of versatility with low levels of price

Nikon Black FX1000

The Nikon Black FX1000 is one of the cheapest and minimalistic optics you can get with incredible long-range capabilities. With optical strength at either 4-16×50 or 6-24×50 and your choice of the Matte FX-MOA, Matte FX-MRAD, illuminated FX-MRAD or illuminated FX-MOA configurations and a price tag a couple of bucks under the $600 mark, this is an excellent choice for those of you looking to push the limits of your rifles without completely destroying your bank account.

The turret system really stuck out to me on this one as it’s claim of being “high speed” is actually right on the money. This is one of the easiest and quickest turret systems I’ve seen on a scope like this and I really enjoyed the integral zero stop as it makes readjusting just so darn easy!

The tube is 30mm in diameter and matched with the 50mm objective lens, you can expect decent light transmission and better sight picture resolution than what is to be expected on a cheaper scope, but hey, that’s kind of what Nikon specializes in so no surprise here!

If you choose the illumination version, which I highly recommend, you’ll get 10 different intensity settings with the option to toggle these settings with a turret on the left side of the scope, a turret that matches the high quality of the others and really gives the scope a nice and clean reciprocal look.

The reticles all help in finding and compensating for range, target size, elevation, parallax adjustment, holdover limits, and windage. The scope is fairly durable and rather rugged despite its minimalistic styling and offers fairly decent waterproofing and the lens seems to be free of fog no matter the environmental conditions.

Another major aspect that really stood out to me was the 3.5” of effective eye relief. It’s incredible honestly despite such high levels of magnification and is extremely easy to use for those of you wearing glasses or protective gear. This is actually one of the best levels of eye relief on a scope capable of 50x magnification I’ve gotten to review!

Burris Eliminator 3

The USA crafted Burris Eliminator is a buck under the four-figure mark and although that might sound expensive to the amateur shooter, the Eliminator is worth the extra dollar to hit the thousand mark!

First off, if you hate lugging around multiple pieces of gear, you’re in luck because this bad boy is ready to rock and roll with an integrated inclinometer and laser rangefinder capable of up to 1200 yards for those of you who dislike finding range via reticle. Burris has always made some pretty decent rangefinders so my expectations were high and needless to say, I’m pretty happy with what Burris has going on in this scope.

To use the incredible technology stuffed into this set of optics, you can opt for a remote cable instead of using the onboard controls, which basically allows you to move the controls back and mount them on your rifle, enabling quicker toggling of the rangefinder and built-in ballistic software. Speaking of the software, the scope has profiles for most centerfire, rimfire, slugs, and muzzleloaders so you’ll be able to fine-tune long-distance shots according to the exact rounds you’re using and you can swap the scope quickly and easily without worrying about whether the software is compatible with your other firearms.

The Eliminator III comes in as a 4-16x50mm platform with low profile turrets that aren’t great. That’s my only complaint, that the turrets are a little awkward to adjust and certainly take some time getting used to if you’re used to the silky smooth turrets found on Nikon or Vortex products.

Rudolph Optics Tactical Series

If you’ve read my content throughout the site then you know I am heavily biased towards US made gear, especially when it comes to optics. With this said, however, I will note that the Japanese are capable of some amazing design feats! Teaming up with Rudolph Baard in South Africa, the Rudolph T1 immediately shows off its Japanese inspired design with a unique and smooth throw lever (optional) and incredibly clear Japanese crafted glass. Something else I found was an actual shock test that rated the scope at 1200 G’s! This means this set of optics is insanely durable and also comes completely purged and waterproof.

 Another slight addition to this scope is the pop-up capped turrets that are of the smoothest application on the market today. The clarity of the glass is impeccable, rivaling scopes that cost more than double what this one costs.

Overall, this is the scope to have if spending 4 digits isn’t on your to-do list. They are sometimes a little tough to get your hands on as they aren’t as popular in the US as they are in other places, such as South Africa and the UK, but of course, utilizing the power of the internet, I’m sure you’ll find one eventually! (Maybe on amazon, maybe not, as stock is limited).

The scopes Rudolph offers, while only 9 in total, have many variations in features. Some will be a T1 model with a T6 reticle, for example. I recommend doing some research and figuring out exactly which one will fit your needs. They are typically built to be optimized in four categories: hunting, hunting HD, tactical or varmint shooting.

Notable Features:

  • 6-24×50
  • 30mm tube diameter
  • FFP
  • T6 MOA reticle
  • ¼ MOA click adjustments
  • Included sunshade, neoprene scope coat, throw lever
  • Fully multi-coated lenses for increased durability and light transmission
  • One-piece aluminum nitrogen purged tube
  • Waterproof
  • Fog proof
  • Shock proof up to 1200 G’s
  • 3.7” eye relief
  • No questions asked lifetime warranty
  • Incredibly lightweight and small for the power it produces

ATN X- Sight 4K Pro

The ATN X-Sight is a feature packed scope that has the feel of a little miniature rifle mounted computer. Looking through this thing is like peering through the HUD display of a fighter jet. With on-screen wind speed, humidity, temperature, ballistics, range, etc you will be completely clued in to take the perfect shot whether its day or night. Alongside these features comes with some incredible battery life capabilities and some smartphone apps that come in quite handy when using the recording functions. The scope comes with an attachable 20000mAh battery pack and an X-Trac remote control and is mounted via an ATN quick detach mount that is all included in this package. The new version allows for dual recording, both to the SD card and to a mobile device!

I added this scope on this list because I figured some of you shooting long range may really enjoy recording capabilities. The NV functionality is also really cool! I believe this is one of the best value scopes with all of the functionality it comes with, but this is by no means the only one like it available. Just a teaser if you will on this otherwise none NV/recording long range rifle scopes page.

Notable Features:

  • HD 4k Sensor with Obsidian 4 dual-core processor
  • Simultaneous mobile device streaming and SD capture recording
  • Recoil activated video (RAV) technology
  • 120fps video recording
  • Built-in rangefinder
  • Ballistic calculator
  • E-Compass and barometer
  • 18+ hour battery life
  • Built-in IR illuminator
  • Jam-packed functionality alongside long-range capabilities
  • Provides the shooter with more than enough information to take well informed shots

Millet LRS-1 Tactical

Recommended for long-range hunting and target shooting, the Millett 6-25x56mm LRS-1 Long Range Rifle Scope offers incredible levels of brightness and outstanding repeatable accuracy. This rifle scope by Millett is built for marksman who are ready to step into advanced long range marksmanship. These scopes are massive and built with a one-piece 35mm tube and a multicoated 56mm objective lens. The Millet 6-25x56mm LRS-1 Riflescope w/ Mil-DotBar Reticle features precision controls with 140 MOA adjustment and a Mil-DotBar reticle for enhanced accuracy. The Millet 6-25x56mm LRS-1 Long Range Tactical Scope is among the best versatile scopes on the market in this price range.

I would like to consider the Millet LRS-1 as a top choice in the world of high-end optics while still maintaining a friendly price tag. Anything with the level of quality that this thing has to offer is going to run you well into the 4-digit price range, but this bad boy can be had for a bargain at roughly $800.

Notable Features:

  • Oversized objective lens for a wide field of wide and bright sight picture
  • Large one-piece 35mm diameter tube to complement its large objective lens
  • The come-up scale on windage and elevation settings
  • Illuminated and etched Mil-DotBar reticle on SFP
  • 140 MOA elevation adjustment
  • ¼ MOA click adjustments for windage and elevation
  • T6 aluminum construction finished and anodized in matte black
  • Comes with 35mm scope rings, sunshade, and scope cover
  • One of the best scopes in the market for light transmission

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